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HHS HealthBeat (February 26, 2013)

The class pet


Small turtle


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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Ira Dreyfuss with HHS HealthBeat.

The right animal can be fun and educational in a childcare center. But the wrong animal can make kids sick. At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, epidemiologist Dr. Neil Vora has some examples of risky pets. He says reptiles such as turtles, lizards and snakes – and amphibians such as frogs and salamanders – commonly carry germs called Salmonella.

“Children younger than 5 years of age are at particularly high risk for serious illness with Salmonella. This is why it’s particularly important that pets or animals carrying Salmonella are not kept in day care centers.”

Vora says small pet turtles are still sold in some places despite federal rules banning sales.

His study is the CDC journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

Learn more at healthfinder.gov.

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Ira Dreyfuss.

Last revised: March 20, 2013